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The scenic backwaters, expansive beaches, therapeutic Ayurveda medicine and lush tropical greenery are among the major attractions in this relaxed jungle paradise facing the Arabian Sea. The western coastal of Kerala is comparatively level and it is a network of interconnected brackish canals, lakes and rivers referred to as the Kerala Backwaters, which are well utilized by its water bound population and for scenic jungle cruises with 140 to 160 rainy days per annum. Kerala features a wet and maritime tropical climate influenced by the seasonal heavy rains of the summer and winter monsoons.. Boasting 67 navigable rivers, Kerala is one of the few states in India where waterways are successfully used for personal and commercial inland navigation via small craft under both motor and paddle power. The coastal port of Kochi has great historic significance through its centuries-old settlements established by Portuguese explorers searching for natural resources. Alleppey is a charming seaside community with picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons that is often described as “Venice of the East”. Houseboat cruises on the Backwaters of Alleppey are by far the most popular tourist attraction in Kerala. Locally known as a Kettuvallum, a houseboat from this region is a large and spacious craft that contains one to three bedrooms and an open air sitting room for guests as well as an onboard kitchen. Visitors can hire the boats for a day trip around the waterways for either a quiet and peaceful refuge or for a raucous party event. Guests with extra time are sure to elect for the overnight cruise option where the lumbering craft ventures far north into the quieter channels, pulling up to a serene palm covered lagoon to dock for the night. If you are lucky enough to awaken early, you can listen to the silent jungle erupt with activity as the rich amber horizon bursts with the morning sun while you sip tea on the veranda. Kerala’s notable biodiversity holds title to almost one quarter of India’s 10,000 plant species along with 102 species of mammals, 453 species of birds, 202 species of freshwater fishes. Kerala is also famous for Coconuts, Cashews, Tea, coffee, pepper, vanilla, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon — and more than 600 varieties of rice comprise a critical agricultural component for India. Well suited for the guest seeking aquatic appeal, Kerala is one of the highlights of India. If one desires the verdant surroundings of a peaceful river atmosphere Kerala is by far the best place in the world to find it.
but most visitors come for the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary located on one of the islands. Although very similar to the features of Allepey, Kumarakom is much more laid back than its more centrally located neighbor. Relaxing stays can be found and houseboat cruises are certainly available
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: Located on the shores of Vembanad Lake, this relatively small sanctuary is home to a large number of migratory birds during the high season of November through March. Visitors should make use of a local guide who can help point out many of the species, including some from as far away as Siberia. The sanctuary and the surrounding area both have large expanses of mangrove and coconut trees as well as swaths of banana, mango, pineapple, cocoa and coffee plants. A canoe ride can be arranged for a gentle and relaxing trip along the canals amid the hyacinth blossoms floating on the surface.
Located in the rolling hills of the Western Ghats, this hill station is in one of the prime high altitude tea growing regions of southern India. Its advantageous location at the confluence of the Madhurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers offers a central focus to this idyllic resort area nestled within the surrounding mountain peaks. The serene and mist-filled valleys are also home to the wild orchid locally called Neelakurinchi, which blooms only once in 12 years, whereupon the entire valleys erupts into a vivid shade of violet. Guests are welcome to explore the valley at large including activities such as plantation visits, hillside treks, tea factory visits, cycling, boating and paragliding as well as day trips to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
This beach town on the lower reaches of the Arabian Sea is Kerala’s most developed beach resort and offers many opportunities for travelers wishing for the ultimate beach experience in India. The area can suffer from its own popularity, with large crowds driving up prices during the peak seasons of December and January. Those able to visit off-season will find the same splendid scenery and accommodations for a fraction of the price. The name Kovalum translates to “grove of coconut trees” and the area certainly offers seemingly endless lines of coconuts as far as the eye can see.
Lighthouse Beach: The southernmost beach of this community, Lighthouse Beach is the most popular. Its wide expanse of dark brown sand wraps as a gentle crescent with the majestic Vizhinjam Lighthouse located on a rocky promontory to the east. The gentle sweeping beam of the lighthouse casts an ethereal glow over the water and the sands for those taking a nighttime stroll amongst the sounds of the gently crashing waves.
Hawah Beach: Adjacent to Lighthouse Beach, Hawah Beach is also a popular haunt for those wishing to recline under the warm sun with gentle breezes blowing in over the crashing waves. Previously a topless beach, local codes have limited open sunbathing to private areas at the resorts.
Samudra Beach: With virtually no beach combing visitors walking the sands, this northernmost beach is far more of a working beach. Dozens of fishermen launch large wooden boats early each morning to harvest the marine bounty from the rolling seas far beyond the breakers. Visitors can browse the bustling activities as the fishermen return in the afternoon but one should not expect to find ample room to lie out or to have a swim.
Kovalum Beach: Known for its wide expanses of nearly black sand, Kovalum Beach (and its neighbor Ashoka Beach) offers large areas of flat beach on which one can recline for the afternoon with a cool drink.
Fortunately for foreign visitors, this tongue-twister of a name is commonly shortened to Trivandrum. Located near the very southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, Trivandrum was called the “Evergreen City of India” by Mahatma Gandhi. Heralding a history as an ancient region with trading traditions dating back to 1000 BCE, it is believed that the ships of King Solomon landed in a the port and found the city to be a trading post of spices, sandalwood and ivory. As a hot-spot for both domestic and international tourists, Trivandrum is often known as “God’s Own Country” and we invite our guests to come explore why.
Sri Padmanabha Swamy: This Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu was constructed some 1500 years ago with major additions made 500 years ago. This temple is thought to be very sacred and is not open to non-Hindus. Furthermore, the temple contains many sealed vaults that are rumored to contain priceless treasures in the form of gold, jewels and sacred artifacts. Recent inventories have estimated the value of the contents to be in excess of $22 billion USD, apart from the antique value which could multiply that amount as much as ten-fold. This supports the claim that this temple is the richest temple in all of India.
Kuthira Malika Palace: Translated as the “Mansion of Horses”, the palace got name from the 124 horses that are carved into the wooden wall brackets that support the southern roof. A portion of the palace has been converted to a museum, allowing visitors to view some of the contents including Kathakali mannequins, Belgian mirrors, crystal chandeliers, paintings, armaments, musical instruments, royal thrones, traditional furniture and other artifacts.